New York, July 22, 2019–An army officer today said he was among a group of men who murdered Gambian editor Deyda Hydara in 2004 on the direct orders of then-President Yahya Jammeh, Agence France-Press reported. In testimony before Gambia’s Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission, which was broadcast on the local Kerr Fatou Network, Lieutenant Malick Jatta said he carried out the shooting with at least two others, and that during the operation his commander was on the phone with Jammeh. He said that the commander later handed him an envelope containing money.
“For 15 years, CPJ has called on Gambian authorities to do everything in their power to ensure those who carried out Deyda Hydara’s killing are brought to justice. Today, Yahya Jammeh himself was accused of giving the order to kill a respected journalist,” said CPJ Africa Program Coordinator Angela Quintal. “Jammeh should be extradited to Gambia without delay to stand trial for the murder of Hydara and other abuses carried out during his rule.”
Hydara was the managing editor and co-owner of the independent newspaper The Point, and a correspondent for AFP and Reporters Without Borders. Gambia’s U.N. backed Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission was set up in October to investigate alleged abuses under Jammeh’s 22-year year rule. Its mission is to document abuses and grant reparations to victims, the BBC reported. The former leader is living in exile in Equatorial Guinea after losing an election.